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ReMarkable 2 adds keyboard case to level up its impressive no-distractions tablet

The $200 Type Folio case for the writing tablet is a hardware marvel, while the software experience is still catching up.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief
ReMarkable 2 and its Type Folio case

ReMarkable 2 tablet in its new Type Folio case.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

As an e-ink tablet for digitally capturing, saving, and sharing your notes, the ReMarkable 2 is best known for its impressively thin and well-designed hardware. Still, less appreciated but equally impressive is the software and user experience of the ReMarkable 2. It intuitively allows you to use different pen and pencil styles, select and move text, copy and paste between notebooks, move pages around, and much more. It anticipates almost anything you'd want to do in taking notes.

Also: Kindle Scribe vs ReMarkable 2 tablet: Digitize your notes

The same can't quite be said for its new keyboard functionality, launched on Tuesday with the new $199 Type Folio keyboard case for the ReMarkable 2. The hardware is as stunning and well-designed as you'd expect from ReMarkable, yet the software -- which requires an upgrade to version 3.2 to support the new keyboard -- is not quite as intuitive or polished yet. That's based on my experience using the Type Folio case and the new software during the week ahead of its launch.

Still, the Type Folio is a welcome upgrade that allows you to turn the ReMarkable 2 into a focused typing machine. I could certainly see writers, journalists, and authors now being attracted to this device because of its ability to let you write without being interrupted by emails or other distracting apps and notifications. As long as you have the patience for the software to get better over time, the ReMarkable 2 can be a valuable tool for writers in addition to its prowess for digitizing your valuable hand-written notes.

Also: The best tablets (aren't all iPads) 

The ReMarkable 2 magnetically snaps into place on the Type Folio and connects via a built-in three-pin connector. But what impressed me the most about the hardware functionality and design was how smoothly and fluidly it flips between a normal folio case and an open keyboard. From that perspective, its design is much more versatile and usable than any iPad keyboard case I've seen. The top flap simply folds under while the bottom flap pops up to one of two well-placed positions. When the keyboard is flipped out, the ReMarkable 2 automatically goes into landscape mode, and when the keyboard is covered, it automatically flips into portrait mode.

The keyboard itself has full-sized letter keys and a nice, tactile feel. The keys have 1.3mm of key travel, which is 30% more than the 1mm of key travel on Apple's Magic Keyboard launched in 2020 and now available on its MacBooks and in its keyboard cases for the iPad, which cost $250-$350 depending on the iPad model. 

Also: The 4 best iPad models you can buy

All things considered, the physical typing experience on the Type Folio and the ReMarkable 2 is very good. There are a few challenges with the software and some of those are likely to get ironed out over time. The first is that there's a very slight delay when typing, mostly due to the fact that the ReMarkable 2 uses an e-ink screen. That's not a deal-breaker but it's not as instantaneous as typing on most of today's laptops. 

Type Folio case for ReMarkable 2 tablet

Type Folio case for ReMarkable 2 tablet.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The most awkward parts of the experience have to do with mixing handwritten notes or drawings with typed text. In that case, it can be difficult to move text around to different parts of the page. You can't select it with the selection tool that you use to easily move handwritten text. You have to copy and paste it and then you can only put it in a place where you can drop a cursor, which is limited. Also, once you have both text and handwritten elements on a page, the handwritten elements are treated like graphics and become anchored on a line of the text and sometimes they shift in unexpected ways.

Also: The best smart pens and how they work

With that in mind, the way I'd recommend using Type Folio is creating notebooks dedicated to typed notes and only typing on those pages. Keep your handwritten notes and/or drawings in separate notebooks within the ReMarkable 2. This also makes it much easier to move back and forth between the mobile and desktop ReMarkable apps, which can now be used to edit typed notes in addition to viewing handwritten notes.

That said, the experience of going between typed notes on the ReMarkable 2 and its computer and phone apps isn't nearly as seamless as something like the Apple Notes app. The reason to get a ReMarkable 2 and its new Type Folio case is for the level of uninterrupted focus in taking handwritten notes and now being able to use it to type text without distraction. 

Also: Best smart notebooks to digitize your to-dos   

One other thing ReMarkable should consider adding is the ability to automatically back up all your notes -- handwritten and typed -- to third-party cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and iCloud. You can currently back them up to ReMarkable's cloud, and you can export notes one-by-one to external drives or cloud services, but if ReMarkable wants this to become a tool for professionals where they save some of their most important work, then adding this extra level of protection is a must.

The Type Folio case is available in two artificial leather finishes, black or light brown, and can be purchased directly from remarkable.com for $199 starting today. If you're an existing ReMarkable 2 owner and you had Connect subscription ($3/month) prior to March 6, then you'll get a $50 discount on the Type Folio.

You can watch our short video summing the Type Folio and showing it in action on YouTube Shorts (embedded below), Instagram Reels, or on TikTok.

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